WECHU to open COVID-19 registration for high priority health-care workers

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for the region, said a new registration form will be available on the health unit's website for organizations that have employees that meet the criteria.

The health unit says organizations can register front-line health-care workers for shots

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says vaccinations of the next priority group of health-care workers could begin as soon as next week. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The public health unit in Windsor-Essex is taking the next step forward in its plan to vaccinate high-priority health-care workers.

A new registration form was made available on the health unit's website Tuesday for organizations that have employees meeting the criteria. The form is available throughout the month of February.

The rollout could begin as early as next week, but medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed acknowledged it will take time to get through all of those eligible.

"We wanted to open up this process so people start to register and get the vaccine as soon as possible pending the supply of the vaccine in the region," he said at the health unit's daily briefing on Tuesday.

The form is being used to gain insight on the healthcare settings in the region that have eligible employees. 

Ahmed estimated there were 5,000 to 6,000 local health-care workers not yet vaccinated but said he'd have a better sense of the number once the registration data is collected.

A long list of front line health-care professionals are eligible, including some working in hospitals, congregate settings including correctional facilities and assisted living and shelters, those who provide health-care to Indigenous populations, people who work in dentistry settings, midwifery, laboratory services and walk-in clinics. 

Only one request per organization is allowed, and the person submitting the request has to have signing authority for the organization.

Ahmed anticipates the vaccinations will take place at the St. Clair College Sportsplex, which first opened for vaccines back in December.

The health unit is working on a separate site for the upcoming immunization of seniors over 80, Ahmed said.

263 active COVID-19 cases

The announcement came as the health unit reported three additional COVID-19 deaths and 32 new cases of the virus on Tuesday.

Of those new cases, five are outbreak related, 10 are close contacts of confirmed cases, seven were community acquired and the remaining 10 are under investigation.

The number of active cases dropped from 299 on Monday to 263. In total, 12,816 cases of the virus have been confirmed locally since last March.

Overall, 376 residents have died due to COVID-19. There are currently 42 people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Nearly 11,500 people have received both required doses of either of the two COVID-19 vaccines.

12 outbreaks remaining

There are a dozen outbreaks active in Windsor-Essex, spread across different sectors and populations.

Two outbreaks are active at Windsor Regional Hospital and two are active at shelters serving people experiencing homelessness, the Downtown Mission and Salvation Army.

Seventy cases of COVID-19 are associated with the outbreak and additional testing occurred on Monday, Ahmed said.

The city is working on a plan to open up the aquatic centre to house those affected by the outbreak.

There are four active outbreaks at workplaces:

  • One in an agriculture setting in Leamington.
  • One in LaSalle's finance and insurance sector.
  • One in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector.
  • One in a Windsor manufacturing setting.

There are four active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities:

  • Franklin Gardens in Leamington, with 38 resident cases and 17 staff cases.
  • Regency Park in Windsor, with 25 resident cases and 15 staff cases.
  • Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 43 resident cases and 10 staff cases.
  • The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 177 resident cases and 143 staff cases.

COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent

Vaccination sites for health-care workers in both Chatham-Kent and Sarnia Lambton opened up on Monday.

There was one new COVID-19 case announced by Chatham-Kent Public Health on Tuesday, and 18 cases are active overall. Nine people have died due to COVID-19 since the pandemic started.

In Sarnia-Lambton reported nine new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. Overall, 94 cases are active.

Since the pandemic began, 46 people have died after contracting COVID-19 in the region.

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